Postcard Book Special Offer

Here in the United States, the day following Thanksgiving has become known as Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year.

This turkey’s attitude pretty much sums up how I feel about going shopping at the mall with the crowds this long weekend.




Although I can’t bear the thought of stepping foot into a big box store anytime this long weekend, I do like a bargain. You probably do, too. And so, I am having my own After Thanksgiving Holiday Sale here at HenCam. Purchase two or more vintage animal photographs books in my series through the HenCam Store and I will send you an additional book at no charge.

There are three titles to choose from.





All you have to do to get your free book is to leave a “note from the buyer” at checkout, letting me know which title you would like.

THE FINE PRINT This offer is only available for addresses in the US because international postal rates have made it prohibitive to ship overseas. Sorry! Offer available through 10 pm EST on Dec. 2, 2013.


Every day, multiple times a day, I give thanks. I am thankful for where I live. There is beauty all around me, in the small details, like the moss underfoot, and there in the larger landscape, like the pink sky at night. I share my days with intelligent and loving people. My animals keep me in the present, and remind me to enjoy the journey.


The last two years have been filled with the miracle of hearing. My two cochlear implants have returned to me not just the ease of conversation, but also the minute details of life, only apparent through this sense – a dog’s pant, a twig snap, the tick of my wristwatch. The sounds of birds in the trees have become birdsong. A running stream is musical. Every day I give thanks to the long line of researchers and scientists and doctors who have made this possible.

I know that on this planet, I am one of the lucky ones, here, today, with my wealth and my freedom, my ability to make choices, and the wherewithal to make them reality, I do not take any of it for granted.

The underlying tenet of the type of animal training that I do is that although you keep in mind a large goal, you get there by breaking it down into small steps, each one carefully built on the one before. Do you want your dog to come? Before you ask your dog to move to you, what do you need? Think about it. She needs to look at you. Reward the glance, and then the focus, and then, finally, the movement to you. First it will be a slow trot, and at last there will be that all-out, pell-mell joy of the fast recall. Although this sounds like a tedious and lengthy way of doing things, it actually progresses amazingly fast. Be aware of, and reward, the seemingly minor moments. Ignore what isn’t right. Soon you will have achieved your objective. This is how I try to go about my days. I have my large goals, but I celebrate the very small steps needed to get there. And so I am most grateful to you, my readers. I could be writing about matters of political and societal importance. Certainly I think about those things. But, you give me an excuse to take the time to focus on seemingly inconsequential events – a hen’s molt, the last carrots from the garden, the baking of a pie. My daily blog is a place in which I can pay attention to those moments of grace, Like the animal training that I do, when the focus is on the small positive steps, the better the whole becomes.

Have a most wonderful day.


Etheldred’s Changing Plumage

There are three Speckled Sussex hens in the Big Barn flock. Florence is the smallest and most uniformly speckled. Agatha is easy to spot from a distance – she’s the heavier hen that is gallumping around. In the barn, Agatha is the one up close and inquisitive. Etheldred is Agatha’s size, but her coloring is distinctive. It’s not up to breed standard. There’s too much white.

At a few month’s of age, Etheldred’s chest sported a white bib.




As she matured, more spots turned up on her brown feathers and the reverse happened on her chest, with more brown mingling in. Her head became white. I joked that she was a bald eagle.




I thought that after the first molt in 2012, that this would be Etheldred’s permanent look. She wouldn’t win any ribbons at a poultry show. She was more white and blotchy than what the “standard of perfection” calls for, but I thought her beautiful.

Etheldred 2011



Etheldred has just finished her second molt, and to my surprise, she has grown in even more white feathers, especially on her neck. I can sympathize. This year I’ve gone mostly grey.

Etheldred 2013


I wonder if, each year when Etheldred molts, that she will grow in more white feathers, until she has totally changed her plumage.

Have you ever had a hen that sported a different look after a molt?

Narragansett Turkey

vintage turkey


Turkeys are crazy looking birds, what with their bare, iridescent heads, the long feathers hanging off of the middle of their breast, and dinosaur legs that would have fit into a scene from Jurassic Park. In my town, there are large flocks of wild turkeys. They used to be shy and reclusive animals. No longer! Even brave dog Lily leaves them alone.

Safe travels over the Thanksgiving break, everyone! And, if you come across a flock of these turkeys, do brake while they saunter out of the way!

This magazine cover is from my collection of vintage poultry ephemera.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Have you ever seen those huge cookies at the mall? That greetings are written on? Take that idea, but make it fatter and softer, and yummier (because of the better ingredients you’ll use at home) and put it into a piecrust. There are plenty of recipes for this dessert (sometime called Toll House Pie) floating around on the web. Over the years I’ve looked at, and tried, many of them. I have growing boys, and despite the varied and creative array of pies that I bake, this is their favorite. I’ve tweaked the amount of sugar and chocolate chips, and left out the nuts (which they don’t like) and have come up with this version. The recipe can be doubled, and it freezes well. If you don’t have teenage boys about, you might have enough to put aside for another day.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

1                        piecrust for a 9-inch pie (see master recipe here)
1 1/2 sticks      unsalted butter (6 ounces), at room temperature
1/2 cup             white sugar
1/2 cup             brown sugar
2                        eggs
1/2 teaspoon  vanilla extract
1/2 cup             all-purpose flour
1 cup                chocolate chips

1. Put the piecrust into a 9-inch shallow pie plate (this is the regularly-sized plate, not a deep dish.) Set it into the freezer while preparing the pie filling (freezing helps to keep the pie crust from becoming soggy when baked.) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Beat the butter and sugars until fluffy. I use a stand mixer, but this can be done with a hand-held mixer, or even energetically by hand. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until smooth.

3. Beat in the flour until well-combined.

4. Stir in the chips. Do this by hand, or, if you have a stand mixer, on the lowest setting.

5. Spread the filling into the piecrust and place the pie on the center rack of the oven. After 45 minutes, check the pie. When done, it will feel springy in the center and the crust will be lightly browned. It might take up to one hour to bake, depending on the pie plate and your oven.

This is very good with vanilla ice cream.